Executive Director
Energy Council


January 17, 2019

The official start of the 101 st General Assembly has commenced. The legislature was sworn in last week and the Pritzker Administration was sworn in on Monday. Governor Pritzker stated in his inaugural address that he will fulfill a campaign promise by signing onto the U.S. Climate Alliance, joining 17 other governors committing their states to fulfilling commitments of the 2015 Paris climate agreement. Other campaign promises - put Illinois on a path to 100% clean, renewable energy; invest in clean water infrastructure; expand energy efficiency efforts; and protect Illinois from actions by the Trump administration. While we do not know his exact legislative priorities for the energy and environment community, we have a sense of the direction based on campaign promises and conversations with the Pritzker team during the campaign and as Governor-elect.

Governor Pritzker has also been rolling out appointments for agency heads and cabinet positions. No word beyond rumors yet for IEPA and IDNR, but DCEO has announced Erin Guthrie as acting director. Erin was a General Manager for Uber's Midwest team and has a background in the tech industry.

Bill Introductions
As with any new administration and new legislature comes the onslaught of new bills. There are not many yet, but we can anticipate shifting through all sorts of ideas as the session progresses. Bills of note are listed below. As always, I will send out legislative updates throughout session. If anyone has any bills of interest, positions, information, etc., or if there is something I missed, please let me know!

HB282 (Welch), would prohibit wells that utilize horizontal or directional extensions from a vertical bore hole from classifying as confidential.  Currently, Illinois allows these wells to be classified as confidential for two years. This bill is a repeat from last year that passed the Senate. Senator Koehler had introduced SB3174 on behalf of a group of activist constituents and moved it through the Senate. The bill was referred to the House Agriculture Subcommittee and not considered in the House, nor was there much appetite to discuss it in that chamber. The Chamber opposed the bill as there is no need to reopen the fracking law for a bill that is only interested in making it tougher for fracking to actually happen in Illinois. 

HB211, HB212, HB213, HB214 are flagged as possible vehicles for other legislation pertaining to EV's, emerging technologies, electric procurement, NextGrid, or other changes to Illinois electricity sector.

HB211 (Slaughter), requires the ICC to conduct a workshop and report to determine if publicly-accessible EV charging stations would increase use of EVs.

HB212 (Slaughter), requires ICC to conduct and workshop and report on how the State can continue to encourage electric utilities in their efforts to evaluated additional emerging technologies, products, and services provided to and used on behalf of customers.

HB213 (Slaughter), requires the ICC, IPA, and DCEO to report on opportunities for customers to participate in the State's clean energy economy.

HB214 (Slaughter) requires the IPA to evaluate the implementation of electric supply procurement requirements and processes set forth in the Illinois Power Agency Act.

HB249 (Walsh) would have the effect of requiring all construction and maintenance work at privately owned petroleum refineries and petrochemical facilities within the state to be exclusively performed by members of certain trade unions. Another repeat from last year (SB2480), but the issue was continuing to be discussed over the summer.

SB9 (Bennett), shell bill for coal ash storage legislation.

The Circuit Court of Cook County on Monday granted an injunction blocking the ICC from releasing the report until a lawsuit issued over the summer alleging the study violated the Open Meetings Act is concluded. Given that, the timing of NextGrid's release is unknown.
The Chamber submitted comments on the draft final NextGrid report last week, calling on drafters to further articulate that the NextGrid report is not meant to be a consensus document, no cost-benefit analysis was done, and the concluding chapter should be stricken from the document. We emphasized the first two points many times during the NextGrid process but have concerns with the concluding chapter because it is new to the document and has not been reviewed by NextGrid stakeholders. While this provides an opportunity to do so, this is counter to the purpose of the report, which was to be information gathering and reporting, not deliver assumed recommendations on behalf of the NextGrid stakeholders. Many other organizations and Attorney General's office under Lisa Madigan expressed those concerns as well. All received comments are listed on the NextGrid website. Our comments are here.

Electric Vehicle Notice of Inquiry Report
The ICC has released a summary report on the electric vehicle Notice of Inquiry it put out back in September. The NOI called for comments on electric vehicle adoption in Illinois and the challenges ahead. The NOI followed two policy sessions hosted by the ICC on transportation electrification in April and September. The Chamber submitted comments, which were accepted through October.

The report is a summary of the comments submitted to the questions posed by the NOI and can be viewed here.

Committee assignments are rolling out. The House Democratic and Republicans Steering Committees met and have announced some Committees, with more expected. For Illinois members (and Senators):
  • Representative Bobby Rush will serve as Chairman of the Subcommittee on Energy for the House Energy and Commerce Commission. He was Ranking when Democrats were in the minority.
  • Representative Robin Kelly is a new member to E&C and will serve on the Energy Subcommittee.
  • RepresentativeS Schakowsky and Kinzinger will remain on E&C.
  • Representative Shimkus will serve as Ranking Member of the Environment and Climate Change Subcommittee, the same he chaired last Congress but with a new name.
  • Representative Bustos will serve on the House Appropriations Committee and House Agriculture
  • Representative Schneider will serve on Ways and Means
  • Representative Underwood is on Education and Labor
  • Representative Garcia will serve on House Transportation and Infrastructure
  • Representative Bost will remain on House Agriculture, Transportation and Infrastructure, and Veterans' Affairs.
  • Senator Duckworth will serve on the Committee on Armed Services; Commerce, Science and Transportation; Environment and Public Works; and Small Business and Entrepreneurship
  • Senator Durbin will serve on the Committee on Agriculture; Appropriations (Subcommittees: Defense (Ranking), Labor-HHS-Ed, Energy and Water, Financial Services, State-Foreign Ops, T-HUD); Rules Committee

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